This family in Switzerland asked for a removable seat when they ordered an extra thick tub from Bartok Design, owned by an Italian architect who uses cedar from the Kiso valley, one of the few sources of Hinoki. Soaking tubs are usually smaller than conventional tubs as the bather sits with knees to chest, says owner Iacopo Torrini, but since most tubs are made to order, customers outside Japan often specify longer tubs to stretch out. Photo courtesy of: Bartok Design
Tubs can be partly sunk for easier access, as in this tub from Zen BathWorks. The river rocks at the base hide a linear drain, but tubs can also have a regular overflow or drain onto a wet-proofed bathroom floor, says Bill Finlay, of Zen BathWorks. Jennifer Aniston bought a Port Orford Cedar tub from him when she turned the “his” part of the bathroom she shared with Brad Pitt into a spa after the couple split up. Bill says many customers site their tub, known as an ofuro in Japanese, to enjoy a view. Photo courtesy of: Zen BathWorks
Close to Lake Tahoe, Roberts Hot Tubs built this teak tub to take advantage of stunning views, positioning it next to a two-sided fireplace. The drain is hidden under river rocks. Teak is a good choice for an outdoor tub as it withstands the elements. Roberts Hot Tubs prices ofuros from $5895, says Andrew Harris, and they take 60-90 days to build – they can even include jets. Other manufacturers have similar prices and lead times for a made-to-measure tub. Photo courtesy of: Roberts Hot Tubs
A soaking tub satisfies both “bath people” and “shower people” as bathers wash outside the tub, then soak in clean, deep hot water. The owner of this penthouse asked Roberts Hot Tubs for a teak tub next to his shower. Soaking tubs can have straight or sloping sides and can be any shape. They use more water than regular tubs, but since bathers soak when clean, it’s common to add a re-circulating heater and filter. Tub makers offer wooden lids to keep the water hot - in Japan the same water is typically used by the whole family. Photo courtesy of: Roberts Hot Tubs
The Lais designed their house to be theirs forever. As such, they were able to make design moves that made sense for themselves but that wouldn't have high resale value, like the Japanese-style master bathroom in the middle of the second floor instead of off of the master bedroom. The traditional setup features bath stools from Muji for washing off.
Japanese showers are usually set low down so the bather can sit on a stool and scrub, then pour cedar buckets of hot water over their heads for a refreshing rinse. This homeowner in Venice, California mounted a handheld shower head on the wall for added flexibility. The drain is under the removable cedar floor slats, keeping the room design uncluttered. Wood tubs are cleaned with a simple rinse and last for decades, as the antiseptic properties of cedar guard against mold and rot. This ofuro was designed by Santiago Ortiz and fabricated by Bartok Design.